United Nations Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

Janet Fenton at the meeting in Dunbar

The recently signed United Nations Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons was the subject of a talk by Janet Fenton at the Methodist church hall in Dunbar on Monday 30th October at a meeting sponsored by Dunbar Peace Group and the Methodist Peace Fellowship

Janet was one of the Scottish representatives that contributed to the negotiations leading to the signing of the Treaty in July 2017.

The Treaty binds its signatories to ban nuclear weapons. This includes a commitment not to produce or to develop nuclear weapons. It also outlaws the possession of nuclear weapons or allowing other states to deploy nuclear weapons on a signatory state’s territory.

With more countries possessing nuclear weapons and with defence systems more and more dependent on computers rather than human beings, the risk of a nuclear war (by accident or on purpose) is currently increasing. And even a ‘small’ nuclear war would kill a huge number of men, women and children, either directly or through the longer term effects of radiation, sickness and famine.

Janet noted that although the Scottish First Minister supported the Treaty, the Westminster government had boycotted the negotiations and refused to sign the Treaty. She called on people in Scotland to take a lead in encouraging the UK government to get rid of Trident and commit themselves to abolishing nuclear weapons.

Pause and Pray

‘Pause & Pray’ in Nicolson Square Gardens, Edinburgh

Forth Valley Circuit

Some months ago, during my daily devotions, I experienced what I’ll call a ‘God nudge’ to actively encourage prayer, both inside and outside of church life. Specifically, the call was to take prayer outside of church buildings and on to the streets! As simple as that!

I had previously organised a small ‘prayer station’ in a town centre in the North West of England but wasn’t at all sure about doing something similar in the middle of Edinburgh. That seemed to be a very different proposition. However, the idea was well-received from across the Forth Valley Circuit and people gave generously of their time, help and resources, especially on the day itself.

Located in Nicolson Square Gardens, close to City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, ‘Pause & Pray’ took place on Saturday 30 September and equipped with a (fairly) weather resistant gazebo, a specially-made banner, a prayer tree, a variety of Christian resources and an art activity at the ready –  we were good to go!

This was certainly a step of faith as none of us knew quite what to expect. We had prayed for the conversations which would take place and especially that God would go ahead of us. Just how much God was already at work in the hearts and lives of the people we met would become apparent. We had no agenda other than to be a Christian presence in the centre of Edinburgh, representing the Methodist Church in Scotland and being willing to engage with people and enable prayer to be offered. In the process, our own faith was both challenged and strengthened.

Nicolson Square Gardens is often frequented by people who are homeless or in difficulty of one kind or another, and who may also be dependent on drugs or alcohol. Whilst other members of the public who were walking through Nicolson Square Gardens did stop by, it was the group of men and women who often make the Gardens their base for the day, who offered the most engagement and made me very glad that ‘Pause & Pray’ had become a reality.

There were some memorable encounters. One man kept reminding us that he was praying it wouldn’t rain! We did get the odd shower but not the downpours we could have had. We met a woman who was unable to take away any resources because her pockets were full of holes and there was evident hunger amongst those who eagerly took handfuls of sweets that were on offer.

For some, the opportunity to pray also became a focus for remembrance. The majority of people we spoke to had suffered bereavement or loss of some kind and perhaps up until now, had not had the means to express or mark these losses in any way. Names were lovingly painted on stones or written on cards and hung on the Prayer Tree.

          

It’s difficult to quantify ‘success’ with this kind of event and perhaps that should not be the aim of a prayer-based outreach event. What really matters is that people were listened to by those who had time to do so; prayer and care was enabled, finding practical expression in the ‘Blessing Stones’ art activity and in written prayers for the Prayer Tree. The prayers from both these activities were subsequently included in the Prayers of Intercession at City of Edinburgh Methodist Church.

What next? We pray that the Spirit of God will continue to move in the lives of those we met even only briefly. And in considering how we might follow up on the ‘Pause & Pray’ event, we also pray that we might remain open to prayerful, practical and meaningful ways of sharing God’s blessing with others. Further creative prayer ideas from across the Connexion would be warmly welcomed. Thank you!

Deacon Elizabeth Harfleet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Forth Valley Circuit

On 1st September 2017, the former Edinburgh & Forth Circuit and Central Scotland Circuit merged to become Forth Valley Circuit.

The Circuit now compromises Armadale Methodist Church, City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, Grahamston United Parish Church, Granton United Church, Kirkcaldy Methodist Church, Livingston United Parish Church, Rosyth Methodist Church, St Anne’s Church in Dunbar, Stirling Methodist Church, Tranent with Cockenzie Methodist Church and Wallacestone Methodist Church.

The Circuit webpages will be updated as soon as possible. In the meantime, please enjoy the gallery of pictures showing the beauty of the Circuit.

If you have any questions about the Forth Valley Circuit, please contact the Circuit office in the first instance, on 0131 662 8635 or forthvalleycircuit@gmail.com.

Songs for Water Aid

‘Songs for Water Aid’, 7.30pm on Tuesday 21st March 2017 at the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church. 

We want everyone, everywhere, to have safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030′


Come along to a special charity gig to raise funds for Water Aid.

Artists include Roseanne Reid, A New International, Tina Louise Avery and The Deadly Winters.

Tickets are £7 (including refreshments) in advance from http://wegottickets.com/songsforwateraid

 

 

 

First Court Listening Service in Scotland

 

The first court Listening Service in Scotland – intended to help people who may be upset or uncertain about attending a court – has been officially launched at the Edinburgh Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court.

The Listening Service has been established by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service in association with the Edinburgh Interfaith Association. It is staffed by volunteers organised by the Association, a body made up of representatives from the different religious traditions in the city. The initiative provides an independent confidential listening and support service to all court users.

The Edinburgh service is only the second in the UK taking up an idea first established in Bradford where a similar service is operating in the Magistrates and Crown Court. The concept is to help people who may feel the need to talk to someone during what can be an unknown and stressful experience of attending court.

The idea to set up the service came from the Rev Andrew Letby of the Edinburgh and Forth Circuit Methodist Church after he heard of the experiences of a couple in his congregation who had attended court for a case involving their son and felt the need for someone to talk to and help them understand a process they had never encountered before.

Volunteers has been recruited and trained for the new service. They are present in court at busy times and can speak to court users of all faiths – or none – who wish to engage with the service. Court users can also be referred to the service by court officials and partner agencies staff. The volunteers provide a listening ear for those who want to talk; help court users find their way around the building; or refer them on to other organisations and services if appropriate.

Welcoming the initiative Edinburgh Interim Sheriff Clerk Les McIntosh said: “Having someone available to listen can be a real comfort at a stressful time and we are pleased to be leading the way by making this new service available at the court. This initiative has the full backing of Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen, QC, and has the potential to provide a valuable service to court users, particularly those attending for the first time or those who are distressed or upset.”